Two plead guilty to jewelry smuggling at the Vancouver International Airport

Image_1CHARGES laid by the Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) Criminal Investigations Section (CIS) have led to guilty pleas in a jewelry smuggling case.

On December 16, in Richmond Provincial Court, Michael David Chan and Bo Kwok Siu pled guilty to smuggling jewelry, an offence under the Customs Act. Both Chan and Siu were sentenced to eight days in jail, in addition to a $10,000 fine each.

This case began on November 20, when Chan and Sui landed in Vancouver on a flight from Hong Kong. Border services officers received information that a traveller — later identified as Chan — appeared to be concealing goods around his ankles. Officers approached Chan and referred him for a more in-depth examination. While in secondary, officers discovered Chan had concealed six packages of jewelry by strapping them to his legs underneath his pants. The packages contained hundreds of pieces of jewelry with a combined weight of five kilograms. Border services officers arrested Chan for smuggling.

Image_2Upon investigating this case, officers discovered that Chan was not travelling alone and gathered information to identify the travelling companion who they suspected had smuggled jewelry in the same manner as Chan. They were able to determine that Sui was staying at a nearby hotel. CBSA’s Criminal Investigations attended the hotel, identified the traveller, and placed him under arrest. Sui admitted to hiding jewelry within the hotel room. Under authority of a search warrant, the CIS investigators were granted access to Sui’s hotel room where officers located the jewellery in a garbage bin. An additional five kilograms of jewelry was seized, for a combined weight of 10 kilograms.

The jewelry’s total commercial value for duty was $349,696, but the retail appraised value of the jewelry totalled $1,589,530. In addition to the fines in court, Chan and Sui must also pay a civil penalty for the return of the jewellery, ranging from 25 p. 100 to 80 p. 100 of the commercial value for duty of the seized goods.

The CBSA is responsible, under the Customs Act, for ensuring the collection of duties and controlling the movement of people and goods into and out of Canada.

Failure to report all goods may lead to penalty action up to and including seizure of the goods. Smuggling, undervaluation and other Customs Act contraventions may also lead to prosecution in a court of law.

“As a result of the diligence of our border services and criminal investigations officers, this case has come to a successful conclusion. Smuggling is a serious offence, and in this case not properly declaring goods resulted in significant fines and penalties, in addition to the jail time. The primary mandate for the CBSA is to ensure that the goods and people that enter our country do not pose a risk to Canadians. However, when someone smuggles jewelry into Canada we recognize that it puts legitimate business at a competitive disadvantage. CBSA officers are vigilant to protect honest businesses, and work tirelessly to enforce Canadian law,” said Lucky Paul  Chief, CBSA Criminal Investigations.